Saturday, November 18, 2006

Canine Fitness

(If you don't have a dog, you could also go to the humane society and walk theirs.)

Canine Fitness

Here's a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time — take the dog for a walk! Experts from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who walked with a dog on a regular basis lost more weight than those who walked alone. In fact, the weight loss added up to a whopping 14 more pounds per person over a one-year period! And the good news is, it didn't seem to matter whether the participants walked their own dog or one they "borrowed" for the stroll.

The experts speculate that animal companionship helps take the focus off exercise itself, making the outings more enjoyable. And the more people liked it, the more they walked! So start including Fido in your workout — you just might find exercise is something you both look forward to!

MEMBERS GET MORE! Find great walking workouts on Denise Austin's Fit Forever! and discover how easy it is to get fit! Sign up today!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dog Urination - Know the Reasons for Dog Urination Problems

Title: Dog Urination - Know the Reasons for Dog Urination Problems

Author: Rena Murray

Besides the basic elimination reason every creature on the
planet has for "doing business," there are other dog instinctive
behaviors which cause our four-legged friends to have dog
urination problems. They run the gamut from the dog pack
instincts of dog territory marking and dog scent mixing to
female dog urination, dog mating behaviors, submissive
urination, fear-based urination, excitement urination, and
dangerous disrespect of owner authority. So let's explore what
these mean and what you can do about them.

The quest for dominance frequently manifests in dog territory
marking, even dog home urination to claim that territory. What
does that mean? A male dog may begin to mark in the house if
another dog is brought in and not made to be part of the pack.
If you decide to bring a new dog home, walk your present dog and
the new one together, with you in front and in between them,
prior to bringing the new dog inside. Do the walk every day for
at least forty-five minutes. If you already have more than one
dog, you will need to do this with each one. The dogs will take
at least two months to adjust to one another. Treat them
equally, as favoritism is sure to cause a fight.

Female dogs sometimes pee where the male did. Pack members often
cover each other's scent. Either there is jealousy involved, or
the dogs are making sure the neighboring packs know right away
that there is more than one dog here. Outside, don't worry. If
inside, immediately do a mixture of vinegar, Dawn, and water to
remove the scent, or else you will have repeated peeing by all
the dogs. If jealousy is involved, then get help to address that

There are occasions when a male dog urinates on a female before
he mates with her. It is a way of claiming her that is declared
for some distance.

A dog who pees on his human is neither scared of him nor even
claiming him. He is showing the utmost disrespect. In horror I
heard a wife's account of her naïve husband's child-like report:
"Mommy, Doggie peed on Daddy." Then he said, "That's all right,
Doggie. You couldn't help it." NO! Doggie did not have an
elimination need! That was pure and utter, intentional
disrespect that is symptomatic of far deeper issues. If your dog
does this, do not wait. Consult a professional IMMEDIATELY!

Submissive urination is very common, too. An animal who does
this should be removed from the situation. Do not discipline the
dog; remove him. Showing anger might scare him enough to release
his bowels completely. Clean up the spot when the dog is out of
sight, then bring him back. Repeat the situation over and over.
Remove him when he pees, and pet him when he doesn't. Avoid this
common mistake: Do not pet him to reassure him if he pees, as
that is reinforcement of the unwanted behavior.

Fear-based urination is the hardest of all the reasons to
combat. Do not stand in front of the dog and pull him. He will
shut down and empty his bowels every time. Instead, put the
leash on the top of his neck and pull UP when the dog resists.
Do not make eye contact with him until he surrenders and follows
you. A look at the wrong moment is sometimes just enough for the
dog to shut down.

Excitement urination is among the most common, and luckily
simplest, dog urination problem to cure. Let's say Pepper squats
every time a visitor comes in. What happens is that Pepper is
already excited when the company comes. No one may touch her,
talk to her, or look at her until she has relaxed completely.
Remember, giving Pepper affection when excited will only
increase the excitement and intensify the dog urination problem.
To address the underlying cause, see our articles on controlling
over excitement for further help with Pepper.

About the author:
To end Dog Urination Problems & Obsessive Compulsive Dog Behaviours contact RENA MURRAY at
for a coaching session!
This Dog Behaviorist - Dog Obedience
Trainer blends best of the Dog Whisper Behavior and other
methods in no-nonsense Articles, FREE Newsletter - PAW
PERSUASION POINTERS, and Blog - . Get help at!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pumpkin used as a homeopathic remedy for worming, weight loss, etc

Here's something interesting I just learned yesterday that I thought I would share.

Although I have had dogs all of my life I was unaware that pumpkin is good for the digestive tract. According to my friend, Donnah of Brynbar Setters, "It's also great for if a dog eats a rock, piece of glass or a bone. The fibers in the pumpkin wrap around the foreign object and pumpkin is so slick, it helps move the object through the system".

She recommends home cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin but not the pumpkin pie filling. Because it has high fiber, it's good for loose stools and also can help if the dog has a blockage.

Donnah also says "If you have fresh pumpkin on hand, dogs will even eat it raw. But here's a warning. If you feed raw pumpkin, it's hard to digest and likely to come out looking much like it did when it went in. Raw pumpkin seeds are also a natural wormer.

Pumpkin is also good for dogs who need to lose weight (as are green beans). Just replace some of their food with twice as much pumpkin".

Donnah raises Gorden and Irish Setters. You can see her beautiful dogs here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Excessive Dog Barking Behavior Problem - How to Stop Compulsive

Title: Excessive Dog Barking Behavior Problem - How to Stop Compulsive

Author: Rena Murray

Constant yapping at anything and everything is one of the most
annoying and treatable of the obsessive compulsive dog
behaviors. In our series of articles addressing problem bad dog
behavior, these obnoxious barking dog problems are among those
which are unnecessarily exacerbated by unspent, pent up energy,
yet so frequently overlooked by overly protective owners.
Especially with the smaller breeds... And they drive the owners
and neighbors bonkers! That is what this little ear-splitter did.

This day the small Yorkshire Terrier was barking so loudly I
could not hear his very frustrated owner clearly.
"Quiet!" she commanded loudly in exasperation.

I had a spontaneous "Ouch!" escape from me,
because the woman had forgotten that I was on the other end of
the phone. I shook my head for inner ear equilibrium.

"I am so sorry," she said. It was genuine. The poor thing was
near tears, I could tell. "He just won't be quiet. He barks and
barks and barks -at EVERYTHING! Even if it is a simple noise
with which he is familiar."

The little Yorkshire Terrier was still yapping despite her
desperate plea. He refused to stop ... that incessant yapping
that goes right through you until you want to scream.

So I went straight over to the distraught owner's home. The
little dog, Jake, came charging out, barking furiously and in
such a high pitched tone that it was very hard on the ears.

I corrected Jake with a firm "Hey!" and a stare down. He
understood my body language and surrendered immediately.

"I have had this dog for seven years!" the owner exclaimed. "The
only time he has been this quiet is when he was sleeping." Then
she added, only half kidding: "Can't he sleep all the time?"

She said she had tried numerous medications and some exercise to
soothe Jake's excitement, but nothing had worked. I then learned
that Jake was walked for only fifteen minutes a day, and was
allowed to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

"Jake becomes excited before the walk," I said. "He must learn
that the leash means for him to calm down. Second, he must be
behind or beside you on the walk, unless you have decided to
give him free time. You are dealing with a very obsessive dog,
and your not giving him leadership is intensifying this bad dog

Jake screamed and was like a bucking bronco on the leash as I
made him walk behind me. For less than two minutes, this typical
tantrum kept up. Expect a tantrum of some form. It always

However, upon seeing that he could not manipulate me, Jake
relaxed and started trotting along like the ideal little dog. It
is all about leadership and control. We took a good long walk.
Warn out by the time I brought him home, Jack took a short nap
right away.

I showed the owner what to do, step by step, and how to correct
Jake. She worked with him diligently every day, and within three
weeks Jake was no longer obsessive in any way. Seven long years
of obsessive compulsive dog behavior with this excessive dog
barking behavior problem -- cured in three weeks of proper
exercise and dog obedience training. Ahhhh ... Nice and quiet

About the author:
To end Dog Barking Problems & Obsessive Compulsive Dog
Behavior, contact RENA MURRAY at
for a coaching session!
This Dog Behaviorist - Dog Obedience
Trainer blends best of the Dog Whisper Behavior and other
methods in no-nonsense Articles, FREE Newsletter - PAW
PERSUASION POINTERS, and Blog - . Get help at!

Friday, September 01, 2006

How to Massage Your Dog

How to Massage Your Dog

Dogs love to be scratched, rubbed, and stroked. Touching your dog helps you bond; you both feel good and it can lower your blood pressure. It relaxes both of you and relieves stress.

If you want to really relax your dog give him a massage. Starting with the head, and moving to the ears, flanks, back, legs, and paws move your fingers in a slow, circular motion. Stay away from the spinal column, be gentle and never dig in. Next give him long gentle strokes, while applying slight pressure. After the massage give him a good scratching. By this stage our dogs are usually sighing in content or snoring.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Foods & Other Household Items Poisonous or Harmful to Pets

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Avocado
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Fatty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Raisins and grapes
- Salt
- Yeast dough
- Garlic
- Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm Weather Hazards
- Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
- Blue-green algae in ponds
- Citronella candles
- Cocoa mulch
- Compost piles Fertilizers
- Flea products
- Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
- Swimming-pool treatment supplies
- Fly baits containing methomyl
- Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:
- Pain killers
- Cold medicines
- Anti-cancer drugs
- Antidepressants
- Vitamins
- Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards
- Antifreeze
- Liquid potpourri
- Ice melting products
- Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards
- Fabric softener sheets
- Mothballs
- Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Holiday Hazards
- Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
- Electrical cords
- Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
- Batteries
- Glass ornaments

Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:
- Water-based paints
- Toilet bowl water
- Silica gel
- Poinsettia
- Cat litter
- Glue traps
- Glow jewelry

Household items toxic or harmful to pets

Have you heard that a specific product or substance could be dangerous to your pets? Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center set the record straight on a variety of substances, from cleaning products to popular houseplants.

My Siamese cat loves to lick and chew on plastic bags, although we try to keep them away from him. Could this be bad for our cat?
—Dawn B.

Chewing on plastic bags could pose a hazard to your cat, Dawn, as pieces of the bag could become lodged in your cat’s throat and obstruct his airway. Because of this, we do not advise allowing your cat to chew or play with these bags, and please take care to store them in a secure area out of his reach.

I would like to use peppermint leaves or oil to rid my house of ants. Could this harm my cat?
—Winafred B.

If ingested, the peppermint plant and its oil could indeed potentially cause harm to your cat. Cats are especially sensitive to peppermint oil, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. Some peppermint oil formulations also contain aspirin derivatives, which could result in additional toxicity. Furthermore, if inhalation of the volatile oil were to occur, aspiration pneumonia may be possible. Based on this, we would not recommend using peppermint leaves or oil in areas where your cat is allowed access.

Could eating an acorn make my dog sick?
—Bob B.

Acorns (Quercus spp.) contain a toxic principle called Gallotannin. In cows and horses who repeatedly ingest significant amounts, we have seen potentially severe gastrointestinal irritation, depression and kidney damage.

Dogs, however, generally do not forage on acorns as livestock do—and even if they do ingest several acorns, it is usually an acute (single) exposure, not a chronic situation. In these cases, we typically only see mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, which can include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. However, there is also the potential for mechanical irritation (from the sharp fragmented pieces of acorn), and possible obstruction, should a large amount of acorn material become lodged in the GI tract.

I use an inhaler that contains essential oils in an alcohol base. Should I worry about my conure being on my shoulder when I use this product?
—Kendall P.

There certainly could be cause for concern, Kendall. Birds have unique respiratory systems that make them quite sensitive to aerosolized substances. If inhaled, the substance could cause irritation and subsequent fluid accumulation a bird's respiratory tract (known as acute pulmonary edema); this can be life-threatening.

Based on this, we would advise that you not allow your conure to perch on your shoulder or be in close proximity while you use your inhaler—or any other aerosolized product.

Can it be harmful to cats if they sleep near or on a vent when the air conditioner is on?
—Marina M.

As long as your air conditioner is in good working order, and does not contain contaminants—molds, bacteria or other agents—that could result in harmful air quality for humans or animals, we do not anticipate problems from your cat sitting near or on the air register vent. Many pets do this—because it’s probably the most comfortable spot in the house for them on hot summer days!

Are spices such as mace, paprika and turmeric poisonous to pets?
—Rafael B.

They could be, Rafael, depending on the circumstances of exposure. Mace is derived from the nutmeg plant (Mtristica fragrans); both mace and nutmeg have actually gained popularity as street drugs, due to the psychological effects that are produced from the spices' volatile oil. If eaten in large enough amounts, the oil could cause vomiting and abdominal pain, as well as central nervous system excitation—usually followed by profound drowsiness several hours later.

Both paprika (Capsicum annuum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) contain irritants (capsaicin and curcumin, respectively) that can cause irritation to the skin, gastrointestinal tract and other mucous membranes. Because of the potential for problems, we would advise keeping these and other spices out of your pets’ reach.

We have a small chicken lot that has been overrun by rats. We want to put out rat killer, but are worried about what would happen should one of our pets come into contact with a dead rat.
—Gail H.

We advise pet owners to exercise great caution when using products to eradicate rodents. If a dog or cat ingests a rodenticide, potentially serious or even life-threatening problems can result, which may include bleeding, seizures, or even damage to the kidneys and other vital organs. One possible—and humane—alternative to chemical rodenticides would be the use of live traps to capture and relocate rodents.

If you choose to use a chemical rodenticide, it is important to place the product in areas that are completely inaccessible to companion animals. Should an accidental rodenticide exposure occur it is important to have the container or package information readily available when obtaining veterinary help, so that a proper identification of the product’s ingredients can be made for appropriate treatment.

In general, poisonings resulting from the consumption of rats or other rodents who have ingested most commercially available rodenticides are not typically a concern in most companion animals, unless their staple diet consists mainly of rodents. The greater concern involves the potential risk of disease transmission or gastrointestinal problems from bacteria as a result of eating dead wildlife. Because of this, it’s still a good idea to contact your local veterinarian if, despite your best efforts, your pet ingests a rat.

My dogs have a terrible habit of “snacking” from the cat’s litter box. I use a clumping litter, and am concerned it could cause problems for my dogs. Do you have any information on this topic?
—Sue C.

Many scoopable cat litters contain bentonite clay and/or silica. The bentonite component of kitty litter, sodium bentonite is a naturally occurring clay mineral that is considered to be biologically inert when ingested. Silica is also a physically and chemically inert substance, and is a major component found in ordinary sand. Silica is also used as a moisture-absorbing agent in the little packets found in shoe boxes, medications and some foods. In our experience, pets ingesting small amounts of silica gel may develop only mild gastrointestinal upset, if any signs develop at all.

Cats may ingest small amounts of litter when grooming themselves after using the litter box, and these amounts pass through the digestive tract easily without problems. However, if an animal consumes a very large amount of litter (as can happen when a dog "cleans out" the litter box), gastrointestinal upset, constipation or, in rare cases, intestinal obstruction could potentially occur. In addition, consuming fecal material may cause bacterial-related gastrointestinal problems. It is a good idea to discourage your dogs from helping themselves to the litter box by placing it in an area that is out of their reach, but still accessible to your cat.

My cat loves to eat corn silk from fresh corn on the cob. Is it OK for him to eat this?
—Cherie E.

Unfortunately, no. While corn kernels are generally considered to be edible, we would not advise allowing your cat to ingest the silk portion of the corn plant. Aside from the potential for stomach irritation, the stringy nature of the silk could cause an obstruction or other serious damage to the intestines, should it become bunched or bound up.

As you mention that your cat appears to be attracted to the silk, we would strongly recommend that you place your cat in a separate room when shucking fresh corn. You should also immediately dispose of the husks and silk in a bag or other trash receptacle in a location inaccessible to your cat, such as an outdoor trash bin.

My golden retriever loves to chew and eat sticks. Is this bad for him?
Kelli S.

It certainly could be, Kelli. The ingestion of tree branches could potentially cause trauma to the gastrointestinal tract, should the wood splinter into sharp pieces. Large pieces could also cause an obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Then there’s the fact that certain species of trees may be toxic to pets. Because of this, we would recommend finding a safe alternative for your dog, such as a hard nylon or firm solid rubber chew toy appropriate for his chewing strength.

Is it safe to give french fries to our Labrador retriever? She looks forward to one or two whenever we go to McDonald’s.
—Judi B.

An occasional nibble or two of a fast-food french fry should not pose a serious hazard for a healthy dog. However, it is important to keep in mind that any food not part of your pet's normal diet—especially if it’s high in fat or salt—can cause gastrointestinal upset. The consumption of large amounts of fatty or spicy foods may also lead to pancreatitis, a serious inflammatory condition of the pancreas.

The bottom line? If you decide to give your furry friend “a break today” and offer him a french-fried treat, do so only on occasion—and in small amounts.

I only give my miniature pinscher water from my water purifier system, and a friend told me that tap water is better. Who is right?
—Tarah R.

Tarah, as long as the water you are offering your Min Pin is clean, fresh and suitable for consumption, the choice between purified water, bottled spring water or plain old tap water is really just personal preference—yours and your dog's!

Is over-the-counter ibuprofen safe for my Chesapeake Bay retriever?
—Samantha W.

In a word, NO. Ibuprofen can definitely be toxic to dogs and other pets—even in small amounts. Depending on the dose ingested, significant gastrointestinal damage or even kidney damage could result.

In fact, many drugs that are beneficial for humans can be harmful or even deadly for pets. We strongly urge you to never give your Chessie any medication without first speaking with his or her regular veterinarian.

A neighbor told me that my dogs should not go in my swimming pool because the chlorine could be harmful to their lungs. Is there any truth to this?
—Joe W.

While concentrated forms of chlorine can be very irritating to skin, eyes and the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, exposure to appropriately treated pool water should typically not pose much of a problem for healthy dogs. (If small amounts of water were ingested, however, mild stomach upset could occur.)

However, if the pool water has been treated with larger concentrations of chemicals, or if your dog becomes exposed to an undiluted pool treatment product, more serious problems could result. In either of these cases, your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center should be consulted right away to assess the situation.

And please take note: It is generally a good idea to get in the habit of washing—or at least rinsing—your dogs after they’ve been in a chemically treated pool. This will help to avoid the potential for skin irritation resulting from chemical residue sitting on the animal’s skin for an extended period of time.

I have many decorative soaps in my home. Could they be harmful to my dog if he were to eat one?
—Mindy S.

Most bar soaps contain detergents, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation (including vomiting and diarrhea) if ingested. If the soap also contains essential oils (such as lavender, for example), it is possible that minor central nervous system depression could occur, depending on the concentration of oils and other circumstances of exposure. Certain soaps are made with glycerin or other emollients, which can have a cathartic effect—causing loose stools or diarrhea. If gastrointestinal signs become persistent, they could lead to dehydration.

In addition, if a large portion or the entire bar of soap were to be ingested, it could potentially lead to obstruction in the animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Because of these concerns, we advise keeping your decorative soaps in an area that is not accessible to your dog.

Is watermelon poisonous to my Labrador retriever?
—Rodney S.

As you know, watermelon is definitely considered to be edible by humans, and there is currently no data demonstrating that the edible portion, seeds and rind have potential to produce effects beyond minor gastrointestinal irritation to pets.

As a general rule of thumb, however, if you are considering offering any food outside of your dog’s normal diet, we recommend that you talk with your pet's regular veterinarian first.

Are roses toxic to cats if they eat them?
—Shelley Q.

There is currently no data indicating that roses (Rosa spp.) are poisonous to cats or other pets. However, it is important to keep in mind that even plants considered to be non-toxic can produce minor stomach upset if ingested. In addition roses have thorns, which could cause injury to curious noses, mouths and paws. Because of this, it is still a good idea to discourage your cat from nibbling on them.

Plants Toxic to Dogs

According to the ASPCA Website these plants are toxic to animals.

This list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. For more information, contact us at
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [V] [W] [Y]


- Aloe
- Amaryllis
- Andromeda Japonica
- Asian Lily (Liliaceae)
- Asparagus Fern
- Australian Nut
- Autumn Crocus
- Avocado
- Azalea


- Bird of Paradise
- American Bittersweet
- European Bittersweet
- Branching Ivy
- Buckeye
- Buddist Pine


- Caladium
- Calla Lily
- Castor Bean
- Ceriman (aka Cutleaf Philodendron)
- Charming

- Chinaberry Tree
- Chinese Evergreen
- Christmas Rose
- Clematis
- Cordatum
- Corn Plant (aka Cornstalk Plant)
- Cornstalk Plant (aka Corn Plant)
- Cutleaf Philodendron (aka Ceriman)
- Cycads
- Cyclamen


- Daffodil
- Day Lily
- Devil's Ivy
- Dumb Cane
- Deadly Nightshade (See Nightshade)


- Easter Lily
- Elephant Ears
- Emerald Feather (aka Emerald Fern)
- Emerald Fern (aka Emerald Feather)
- English Ivy


- Fiddle-Leaf Philodendron
- Flamingo Plant
- Florida Beauty
- Foxglove
- Fruit Salad Plant


- Glacier Ivy
- Gladiolas
- Glory Lily
- Gold Dieffenbachia
- Gold Dust Dracaena
- Golden Pothos
- Green Gold Nephthysis

- Hahn's self branching English Ivy
- Heartleaf Philodendron
- Heavenly Bamboo
- Holly
- Horsehead Philodendron
- Hurricane Plant
- Hyacinth
- Hydrangea


- Iris


- Japanese Show Lily
- Japanese Yew (aka Yew)
- Jerusalem Cherry

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Monday, June 19, 2006

How to Select the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Your local shelter is often a good place to start looking. You can find both purebreds and mixed breeds. The shelter personnel will be able to tell you about each dog’s personality, activity level, eating habits and exercise needs.

While it is true that some dogs are in the shelter because of behavior problems, many were abandoned when owners no longer wanted them or could no longer care for them. Puppies are cute but can be a handful to train. An older, already trained dog might be the answer, if you don’t want to put up with potty training, teething and chewed up possessions.

Whether you buy a dog from a reputable breeder or decide to give a shelter animal a second chance at a loving home, look for a dog that is active and friendly. Avoid animals that are extremely shy or overly aggressive, unless you are expert at overcoming these problems.

Discuss your expectations for a dog with everyone in the immediate family. Consider:

  1. How much room you have. Big dogs and/or active dogs need lots of space and exercise.
  2. What activities you enjoy. If you want a companion for hunting, camping, and hiking, you don’t want to bring home a couch potato. On the other hand if you have a more sedentary life-style, an older dog may be a good choice.
  3. Your residence. If you live in an apartment, make sure that you are allowed to have a dog first, before bringing one home.
  4. Your financial situation. Dogs can be expensive. Some need a special diet; they all need to see a vet on a regular basis and sometimes in an emergency. Some dogs require expensive grooming, boarding, or training. And don’t forget about licensing, obedience training, toys and accessories.

Once you and the rest of the family have agreed on a dog, make an appointment with your vet ASAP to have him checked out. Unless it is something that is easily remedied, if the vet determines that the dog is unhealthy, return it right away, before you and the children get too attached.

Preparing for Your New Family Member

Decide on a place for him to exercise, eat and sleep. Go shopping for a collar and a leash, ID tag and some toys. Pet-proof your home by making sure all cleaning solutions, plants, electrical cords and breakable objects are out of reach. Any opening windows should have screens.

Once he is home, obey leash laws, keep up with necessary vaccinations, pick up after him, don’t let him bark incessantly and remember that he depends on you to keep him happy, healthy, safe, and loved for the rest of his life.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Silly Dog Stories

A Day in the Lives of the Dreadful Duo


Coco: (shaking his head) Personally, I don’t see the fascination in all these piles of dirty clothes.

Cookie: (contentedly chewing on a dirty sock) Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. The soiled ones are an aromatic, epicurean delight.


Cookie: (covering her ears with her paws) Stop all that barking. I’m trying to take a nap.

Coco: It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to bark at the vacuum cleaner, the dust rag, and dishwasher, and everything else around here that makes noise.

Cookie: OK, then I’ll bark at you.


Coco: Frisbees are to catch.

Cookie: Frisbees are to chew.

Coco: People are to throw Frisbees for me to catch.

Cookie: People are to bark at and jump on when they take the Frisbee away that I was chewing on so they can throw it for you.


Cookie: (making a beeline for the couch) Oh goody, we have the house to ourselves.

Coco: Let’s see; I’ve played with all my toys. I wonder how an afghan would taste.

Cookie: That looks good. Let me have some.

Coco: Well there’s not much left to the afghan. Let’s try a pillow.

Cookie: (jumping up and down excitedly) I know, I know. Let’s eat the remote so the humans can’t watch TV and they will have to play with us.


Human is taking a well deserved nap

Coco: (licking human in face) get up and feed me.

Cookie: (pouncing on human’s belly and nipping nose) Get up NOW. I’m starving.


As they walked past my cage at the humane society on a beautiful October day, I just knew they would be my humans.

I was right. They took me home. From the start, my job has been to protect them. But that’s no easy task. They have a house full of monsters.

I discovered the first one lurking on the wall. It rings until somebody picks it up by the ears. Then one of the humans talks to it for awhile and hangs the ears back up. But it’s never quiet for long.

The next monster is something the humans feed food to, but it never eats it. When it buzzes, someone puts a glove on so he or she won’t get bit and takes the food away from it. Then they eat the food. Sometimes they give some of it to me. I never turn it down.

The third monster is a noisy creature that hides in a tiny room full of coats. After being released, it is chased all over the house while it loudly gobbles up everything on the floor. (I thought that was my job). It even eats my hair. I run away from it because I don’t want it to eat my hair while it is still attached to me.

There is another monster that I have never seen but whenever it buzzes my people go outside to talk to it. Sometimes other people come back inside with them, so maybe it makes people.


Last Spring when the dogwoods were blooming I went to the ocean.

Lying in the sun on a dog-eared copy of DOG FANCY, I heard a dogfish jump.

Doggedly dogging the dogfish, I became so dog tired that I can dogmatically state that even my doggone dogteeth hurt.

“Just going for a doggie bag”, I barked at the dogfish as I dogtrotted to my pup tent for a cat nap… oops, I mean dog nap.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dog Overboard

Dog Overboard

Those of you who sail with your dog most likely worry about your dog going overboard. Now you can give your furry friend the same protection you give yourself.

Outward Hound The Pet-Saver Lifejacket High Performance Floatation Device.

Provides floatation and buoyancy for your dog. Exceptionally durable water repellant materials. The Pet-Saver is the ultimate buoyant floatation device designed to keep dogs safe in and around water, while allowing for maximum comfort. The neon orange color allows for long-range visibility; the design allows for fast size adjustments and a flexible comfortable fit. Perfect for all your boating, sailing, fishing, and water sport adventures with your pet. Ideal for active dogs.

  • Convenient top grab handle for easy rescue by hand or boat hook
  • Bright orange color for easy visibility
  • Provides floatation and buoyancy for your dog
  • Tough 600 denier nylon fabric is soft, yet sturdy and durable
  • Top quality design and workmanship
  • Fully adjustable chest and neck flaps plus quick release buckles
  • Durable and comfortable neoprene belly band
  • Hand wash with cool water. Scrub stains with mild detergent. Line dry.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Since last year I have been watching a really amazing dog trainer on National Geographic. Cesar Millan is currently on at 7 pm central time on Friday nights. His program is unique in that he focuses on what owners are doing to encourage unwanted behaviors and then in how to change their behavior to achieve desirable results from their dogs.

In fact his slogan is “I train people and rehabilitate dogs”. He has truly found his calling. It is obvious that he loves both people and dogs and he is very talented at getting to the root of the problem behavior.

I have watched in awe as he helped stop unwanted barking, aggression, fighting with other dogs, biting, and every kind of unwanted behavior that I can think of as well as some I never thought of. On several occasions, he has been called in as a last result prior to putting the dog down because everyone else had given up on it. And each time he was able to teach the owner what had to be done to save their dog and to give them all another chance at a normal and happy coexistence.

If you would like to learn more about this gifted trainer please visit

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dogs Are From Pluto

My mind goes off on some weird tangents sometimes. This morning I was thinking about the differences between my female dog and my male dog. (Both "fixed" BTW). It occured to me that if Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, then Dogs must be from Pluto.

My female dog will lick me anytime, any place, and practically incessantly if I let her. My male dog, on the other paw, is much more restrained. He will only lick me when he lowers himself to honor me with one tiny kiss. And only after he has sniffed wherever he is thinking of licking. Sometimes after sniffing he will simply back away from the area he thought about licking as if he finds me offensive. I can't help but wonder how an animal who will lick his sister's behind, lick out of the toilet bowl, and lick bird droppings if I don't watch him closely enough, can find anything offensive. But I never pretended to understand the inner workings of the canine mind.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Healthy Dog is A Happy Dog!

If you’re the average dog owner, your dog is much less a pet and far more a member of your family. You delight in his silly little expressions, love taking her to the park every weekend, and snuggle with him for naps. If you’re one of the more neurotic dog owners, you take her for manicures, dress him in sweaters and pants, drop her off for days at the doggie day spa, and spend more on his bed than on your own.

Sure, she pulled all of the toilet paper off the roll last week just to see what happened, he demolishes your furniture once in a while, and sometimes you just don’t know why she does of the things she does, but he or she is still your baby. Bad moods pass and moments of mischievous behavior are quickly eclipsed by those big, wide, brown eyes staring up at you adoringly.

But what if something happened to your precious pooch? Would you know what to do? Could you help her recover from shock? Do you know the warning signs of the more major diseases and disorders?

Without seeming too dramatic, that knowledge can mean the difference between life and death for your pup. If you don’t get your dog to a veterinarian soon enough, some diseases can be debilitating or even fatal.

You won’t find exotic and uncommon diseases here, but you will find conditions and illnesses that crop up in canines on a regular basis. With fun facts and quick tips and phrased as questions and answers rather than a lecture, you should be able to find the solutions to most of the basic health dilemmas you encounter with your dog. And for emergencies, flip directly to the last chapter to find information about choking, shock, bleeding, and other urgent problems.

So read on, enjoy, and keep that precious pup happy and healthy!

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